Teenager, Atkinson win Noosa triathlon titles
NOOSA, Australia (AP)World junior silver medalist Emma Jackson of Australia won the Noosa Triathlon on Sunday while Courtney Atkinson successfully defended his men's title over the Olympic distance in overcast, ideal racing conditions.
Less than two months after finishing second at the world juniors on the Gold Coast - a two-hour drive south of Noosa - the 18-year-old Jackson finished the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer cycle and 10-kilometer run in 2 hours, 1 minute, 2 seconds in only her fourth attempt at the Olympic distance.
Fellow Australians Sarah Crowley and Annabel Luxford, the pre-event favorite, were second and third, respectively.
"I thought I was at least a chance for the podium," Jackson said. "Coming towards the finish line I was feeling very happy to win it and very proud to do it in front of everyone here. It's a very iconic race to win."
Beijing Olympic gold medalist and five-time Noosa winner Emma Snowsill (hip injury) and world champion Emma Moffatt (foot ailment) were both unable to race Sunday.
Atkinson, who finished 11th at last year's Beijing Olympics, recovered from a heavy crash during the cycle leg to successfully defend his Noosa title in 1:47:03. Fellow Australians James Seear and Josh Amberger were second and third.
"When you crash the first thought is always anger," said Atkinson, who could not recall the last time he had come off the bike during a race.
"In that type of situation I really didn't need to be pushing that hard, especially with my run leg coming up, which is my strongest. So I was quite angry and bolted out as hard as I could and ran really well."